Cao, Lu, Ning Lead Another Wave Of China Progress
China continued to show its second face in the pool on day 2 at the All-China Games, with big leaps in standards across the board and a national record of 48.33 for Lu Zhiwu leading off Zhejiang in the 4x100m free relay, while the previous holder Ning Zetao split 47.24 bringing the PLA team home to silver.
The race of the night, however was the women’s 400m free. Cao Yue, an 18-year-old who has focussed on 100m (55) and 200m (2:00.28 this season so far) in the past [her best times from 2012 were 1:59.26 and 4:09.02 from Chinese winter nationals in December], stepped up big time in the eight-lapper for a 4:03.11 victory. She has leapt from outside the best 30 in her country to all-time No2 and fourth in the world this year over the past 12 months in the 400m.
Shanxi’s Cao was challenged all the way by Zhang Yuhan, of the People’s Liberation Army, until the last lap and a decisive and blistering 28.57. Like Cao, Zhang, also 18, took a huge stroke forward: her best had been a 4:12.81 from January 2012: now – 4:04.38. The bronze went to Shandong’s Chen Qian, the national record holder on 4:02.35 since the last season of shiny suits, and on 4:04.41 today. In 4th on 4:06.41 was 1996-born Bi Yirong, up from a previous best of 4:11.08.
That all made it the swiftest domestic podium and fastest top 4 in the event all year and one of the best ever. Not bad for a nation that placed no-one in the world championships final in Barcelona this summer in a race that ended in 4:08.13, slower than the 5th place in the All-China final: 4:08.02, with 7th in the Shenyang final on 4:08.46.
The splits of the medal winners:
- 28.73 59.53 1:30.74 2:01.98 2:33.20 3:04.45 3:34.54 4:03.11 Cao
- 28.80 59.46 1:30.58 2:01.90 2:33.23 3:04.29 3:35.23 4:04.38 Zhang
- 28.96 59.78 1:30.90 2:02.22 2:33.36 3:04.36 3:34.73 4:04.41 Chen
The Games and the incentives attached to them have been of concern to anti-doping officials in China.
In other events, Shanghai took a 1-2 in th women’s 100m butterfly, Lu Ying (26.41) on 57.04, ahead of teammate Liu Zige (27.12), on 57.51. That locked out Olympic 200m champion Jiao Liuyang, of the PL Army, opn 58.04. The final closed at 59.29, with the first six inside 58.5.
The men’s 100m breaststroke went to Yunnan’s 26-year-old Xie Zhi (28.18) in 1:00.31, which took out his own national record of 1:00.73, clocked at the same competition back in 2009. The silver went to Li Xiayan, PL Army, in 1:00.84, the bronze to Zhejiang’s Mao Feilian, 1:01.07. The next four came home inside 1:01.50.
The last final of the evening saw Sun Yang clock a 48.14 100m free split brining Zhejiang him to victory in the 4x100m freestyle, the combined time a 3:15.61. But the top split was at the start of the race, Lu Zhiwu taking down the national 100m free record of 48.60 with a 48.33. The record had stood to Ning Zetao, who brought the PL Army tam home in 47.24 for silver. Lu’s previous best had been a 48.86.
1. Zheijiang – 3:15.61
- Lv Zhiwu 22.83 48.33
- Wang Shun 23.79 49.24
- House Junyi 23.75 49.90
- Sun Yang 23.36 48.14
2 People’s Liberation Army – 3:17.80
- Liu Wu 23.82 49.79
- Li Yi Guang 24.28 50.24
- Qu Jingyu 24.20 50.53
- Ning Zetao 22.08 47.24
3 Beijing – 3:18.50
In other semis, Zhejiang’s Xu Jiayu clocked 53.85 for lane 4 in the 100m back ahead of Liaoning’s Cheng Feiyi 54.42; Shanxi’s Zhao Jin booked lane 4 for the 100m breaststroke final among women, her 1:08.24 one of five sub-1:09s going through; and Fu Yuanhui set th standard on the way to the 100m back final in 59.36.
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